Poor form, suspensions and controversy surrounded three Premier League strikers for much of the year. But a dramatic change in fortunes has given each player a chance to claim redemption, in the form of major silverware, as the football season reaches its climax.
Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez took home match balls after hitting hat-tricks on the weekend, while Carlos Tevez continued his Manchester City comeback by starting against his old club in the derby of the year.
The timing of Torres' goal explosion has been impeccable. He has cut a forlorn figure since his £50m arrival at Stamford Bridge in January 2011. However, after going 25 games without scoring, El Niño has seven goals from his last 12 matches. His equalising goal against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final last week was the prelude to a performance reminiscent of the Torres of old against QPR.
His first goal, in particular, wound back the clock as he rounded goalkeeper Paddy Kenny before sliding the ball home with ease.
It was the Spaniard's first hat-trick since September 2009 and his scorching run of form could not have come at a better time for Chelsea: the FA Cup and Champions League finals loom in the next two weeks.
This weekend he'll come up against another player determined to make up for an underwhelming year. Uruguayan Luis Suarez served an eight-game suspension for racially abusing Patrice Evra, then showed his immaturity by refusing the United defender's handshake when they next met. The incident, along with some wasteful finishing in front of goal, threatened to overshadow his season.
But his excellent treble against Norwich, including a sublime lob for his hat-trick goal, emphasised how ruthless a striker he can be when he keeps out of trouble and stays on the field. With Andy Carroll blowing hot and cold, Suarez could be the key to Liverpool overcoming Chelsea at Wembley.
If Torres and Suarez can earn winners' medals this year, there will be sweet reward for overcoming tumultuous times. If Carlos Tevez gets his hands on the Premier League trophy it may not seem so well deserved, but it will illustrate a dramatic turn of events for the Argentine.
It is remarkable to think he could be a champion after going on an extended golf holiday in Argentina. The 1-0 victory over fierce rivals Manchester United has put City in the driving seat for their first league title in 44 years and Tevez has an opportunity to be a part of that. He's scored four goals in as many starts - it's frightening to think how many he would have to his name had he played a full season alongside Sergio Aguero.
Mancini predicted Tevez was "destined" to score the winner against United. That wasn't to be, but he can still have a very big say in whether City finish on top. Now that would be a way to redeem himself to the City fans... and the manager who gave him another chance.
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